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Thomas fang zheng co work with linlin wang and xiaojun wu date venue

Thomas Fang Zheng

Co-work with: Linlin Wang and Xiaojun Wu

<Date>, <Venue>

Speaker Recognition Systems:Paradigms and Challenges

About apsipa

Asia-Pacific Signal & Information Processing Association

An emerging association to promote broad spectrum of research and education activities in SIP

Mission: non-profit organization with the following objectives:

Providing education, research and development exchange platforms for both academia and industry;

Organizing common-interest activities for researchers and practitioners;

Facilitating collaboration with region-specific focuses and promoting leadership for worldwide events;

Disseminating research results and educational material via publications, presentations, and electronic media;

Offering personal and professional career opportunities with development information and networking

Established on October 5, 2009, officially registered in Hong Kong

APSIPA ASC (Annual Summit and Conference) starting from 2009

APSIPA Transactions on Signal & Information Processing

APSIPA Distinguished Lecture Program starting from Jan. 2012




Creation of Time-varying Voiceprint Database

The Discrimination-emphasized Mel-frequency-warping Method

Experimental Results

Conclusions & Future Work


Biometric recognition


Biometric Recognition

  • Technologies for measuring and analyzing a person's physiological or behavioral characteristics. These can be used to verify or identify a person.

  • The term "biometrics" is derived from the Greek words bio (life) and metric (to measure).

Examples of biometrics


Examples of Biometrics

  • Face

  • Fingerprint

  • Palmprint

  • Hand Geometry

  • Iris

  • Retina Scan

  • DNA

  • Signatures

  • Gait

  • Keystroke

  • Voiceprint

Rich information contained in speech


Rich Information Contained in Speech

Where is he/she from?

What was spoken?

What language was spoken?

Accent Recognition

Language Recognition

Speech Recognition

Emotion Recognition

Gender Recognition

Speaker Recognition

Positive? Negative?

Happy? Sad?

Male or Female?

Who spoke?

Speaker recognition voiceprint recognition


Speaker Recognition / Voiceprint Recognition

  • Speaker recognition (or Voiceprint recognition) is the process of automatically identifying or verifying the identity of a person from his/her voice, using the characteristic vocal information included in speech. It enables access control of various services by voice. [Kunzel 94][Furui 97]

  • Various applications:

  • Access control (e.g.: security control for confidential information, remote access of computers, information and reservation services);

  • Transaction authentication (e.g.: telephone banking, telephone shopping);

  • Security and forensic prospects (e.g.: public security, criminal verification);

  • Rich Transcription for Conference Meeting (e.g.: "Who Spoke When" and "Who Spoke What" speaker diarization);

  • etc.

Speaker recognition categories


Speaker Recognition Categories

  • Speaker Identification

    • Determining which identity in a specified speaker set is speaking during a given speech segment.

    • Closed-Set / Open-Set

  • Speaker Verification

    • Determining whether a claimed identity is speaking during a speech segment. It is a binary decision task.

  • Speaker Detection

    • Determining whether a specified target speaker is speaking during a given speech segment.

  • Speaker Tracking (Speaker Diarization = Who Spoke When)

    • Performing speaker detection as a function of time, giving the timing index of the specified speaker.

Performance evaluation for verification and open set identification


Performance Evaluation (for verification and open-set identification)

  • Detection Error Trade-off (DET) Curve

    • A plot of error rates for binary classification systems, plotting false rejection rate (FRR) vs. false acceptance rate (FAR).

  • Equal Error Rate (EER)

    • The error rate corresponding to the location on a DET curve where FAR and FRR are equal.

  • Minimum Detection Cost Function (MinDCF)

    • Cdet=Cmiss X Pmiss X PTarget + CFalseAlarm X PFalseAlarm X (1-Ptarget)

Open issues for speaker recognition research furui 1997
Open Issues for Speaker Recognition Research [Furui 1997]

  • 1. How can human beings correctly recognize speakers?

  • 2. Is it useful to study the mechanism of speaker recognition by human beings?

  • 3. Is it useful to study the physiological mechanism of speech production to get new ideas for speaker recognition?

  • 4. What feature parameters are appropriate for speaker recognition?

  • 5. How can we fully exploit the clearly evident encoding of identity in prosody and other supra-segmental features of speech?

  • 6. Is there any feature that can separate speakers whose voices sound identical, such as twins or imitators?

  • 7. How do we deal with long term variability in people's voices (ageing)?

  • 8. How do we deal with short term alteration due to illness, emotion, fatigue, …?

  • 9. What are the conditions that speaker recognition must satisfy to be practical?

  • 10. What about combing speech and speaker recognition?

    Furui, S., "Recent Advances in Speaker Recognition," Pattern Recognition Letters 18 (1997) 859-872

Performance factors for speaker recognition
Performance Factors for Speaker Recognition

  • Factors affecting the speaker recognition system performance:

    • The quality of the speech signal

    • The length of the training speech signal

    • The length of the testing speech signal

    • The size of the population tested by the system

    • The phonetic content of the speech signal

Key issues for robust speaker recognition


Key Issues for Robust Speaker Recognition

  • Cross Channel

  • Multiple Speakers

  • Background Noise

  • Emotions

  • Short Utterance

  • Time-Varying (or Ageing)

Time varying or ageing issue
Time-Varying (or Ageing) Issue

In all these typical situations, training and testing are usually separated by some period of time, which poses a possible threat to speaker recognition systems.



Open questions
Open Questions rivers.”

“Does the voice of an adult change significantly with time? If so, how?” [Kersta 1962]

“How to deal with the long-term variability in people’s voice? Whether there was any systematic long-term variation that helped update speaker models to cope with the gradual changes in people’s voices? ” [Furui 1997]

“Voice changes over time, either in the short-term (at different times of day), the medium-term (times of the year), or in the long-term (with age).” [Bonastre et al. 2003]


Observations rivers.”

Performance degradation in presence of time intervals

The longer the separation between the training and the testing recordings, the worse the performance. [Soong et al. 1985]

A significant loss in accuracy (4~5% in EER)between two sessions separated by 3 months was reported [Kato & Shimizu 2003] and ageing was considered to be the cause [Hebert 2008].

Few researchers have figured out reasons behind this time-varying phenomenon exactly.


More enrollment data a solution
More enrollment data -- a solution? rivers.”

Using training data with a larger time span [Markel 1979]

Performance can be improved.

The enrollment is quite time-consuming!

In some situation, it is impractical to obtain such data!

Accepted testing/recognition speech segments be augmented to previous enrollment data to retrain the speaker model [Beigi 2009, Beigi 2010]

Performance can be improved.

Initial training data should be kept for later use (storage-consuming)!


Ageing dependent decision boundary a solution
Ageing-dependent decision boundary -- a solution? rivers.”

Using ageing-dependent decision boundary in the score domain [Kelly 2011, Kelly 2012]

Performance can be improved.

How to determine the time lapse practically?


Model updating adaptation a solution
Model-updating (adaptation) -- a solution? rivers.”

A simple and straightforward way [Lamel 2000, Beigi 2009, Beigi 2010]:

to update speaker models from time to time

It is effective to maintain representativeness.

However, it is costly, user-unfriendly, and sometimes, perhaps unrealistic.

And feature matters.


Efforts in frequency domain
Efforts in frequency domain … rivers.”

The most essential way to stabilize performance is to extract exact acoustic features that are speaker-specific and further, stable across sessions.

This is more like a dream for a long period!

To take some findings into existing techniques…

NUFCC [Lu & Dang 2007]: assign frequency bands with different resolution according to their discrimination sensitivity for speaker-specific information.


The idea of mel frequency warping
The idea of mel-frequency-warping! rivers.”

To emphasize frequency bands that are more sensitive to speaker-specific information, yet not so sensitive to time-related session-specific information.

Identify frequency bands that reveal high discrimination sensitivity for speaker-specific information but low discrimination sensitivity for session-specific information.

Once these frequency bands are identified, more features can be extracted within them by means of frequency warping.

The Discrimination-emphasized Mel-frequency-warping method.


Outline rivers.”


Creation of Time-varying Voiceprint Database

The Discrimination-emphasized Mel-frequency-warping Method

Experimental Results

Conclusions & Future Work


Marp corpus

23 rivers.”

MARP Corpus

  • A proper longitudinal database is necessary.

    • Time-related variability is the only focus.

    • The MARP corpus has been the only one published so far [Lawson 2009], though there were more variabilities.

  • The MARP corpus

    • 32 participants, 672 sessions from June 2005 to March 2008

    • 10 minutes of free-flowing conversations for each session

    • “While the impact on speaker recognition accuracy between any two sessions is considerable, the long-term trend is statistically quite small.”

    • “The detrimental impact is clearly not a function of ageing or of the voice changing within this timeframe.”

Speaker recognition systems paradigms and challenges

24 rivers.”

  • In free-flowing conversations, speech contents are not fixed and a speaker’s emotion, speaking style, or engagement can be easily influenced by his/her partner.

  • Hence, creation of a voiceprint database which specially focuses on the time-varying effect in speaker recognition is imperative for both research and practical applications.

Database design principles

25 rivers.”

Database Design Principles

  • The time-varying effect is the only focus, therefore other factors should be kept as constant as possible throughout all recording sessions.

    • recording equipments, software, conditions, environment, and so on

  • In the database design, two major factors were well considered:

    • prompt texts design, and

    • time intervals design.

Fixed prompt texts

26 rivers.”

Fixed Prompt Texts

  • Speakers were requested to utter in a reading way with fixed prompt texts instead of free-style conversations.

  • Prompt texts were designed to remain unchanged throughout all recording sessions.

    • To avoid or at least reduce the impact of speech contents on speaker recognition accuracy.

    • In form of sentences and isolated words.

Speaker recognition systems paradigms and challenges

27 rivers.”

  • 100 Chinese sentences and 10 isolated Chinese words

  • The length of each sentence ranges from 8 to 30 Chinese characters with an average of 15.

  • Each isolated Chinese word contained 2 to 5 Chinese characters and was read five times in each session.

    • Of the 10 isolated words, 5 were unchanged throughout all sessions just like the sentences, while

    • the other 5 changed from session to session and reserved for future research of other purpose.

Speaker recognition systems paradigms and challenges

28 rivers.”

Table 1. Acoustic coverage of prompt texts

Gradient time intervals

29 rivers.”

Gradient Time Intervals

  • Gradient time intervals were used.

    • no precedent reference of time-interval design.

    • costly and perhaps unnecessary to record in a fixed-length time interval for more than 10 times to obtain a possible trend.

  • Initial sessions can be of shorter time intervals, while following sessions of longer and longer time intervals.

    • impacts of different time intervals can be easily analyzed.

Speaker recognition systems paradigms and challenges

30 rivers.”



  • 16 sessions from January 2010 to 2012

  • Five different time intervals are used: one week, one month, two months, four months and half a year, as illustrated in the figure below.

  • The design of time intervals exactly voids the recordings in summer or winter vacations.

  • In actual recording it is unrealistic to make all speakers record exactly on one specific day, so the session day is made flexible to a session interval.

Figure 1. Illustration of different time intervals and session days


31 rivers.”


  • 60 fresh students, w/ 30M + 30F.

  • Born in years between 1989 and 1993 with a majority in year 1990.

  • From various departments

    • such as computer science, biology, English, humanities, and journalism

  • All of them speak standard Chinese well.

Recording conditions

32 rivers.”

Recording conditions

  • An ordinary room in the laboratory for recording.

    • no burst noise but environmental noise in a low level.

  • Prompt texts were requested to read in a normal speaking rate, while the volume can be controlled by the recording software.

    • Most of the speakers could complete a session in about 25 minutes smoothly.

  • Speech signals are digitalized at 8 kHz / 16 kHz sampling rates simultaneously in 16-bit precision.

  • 10 recording sessions had been finished so far.

Database evaluation a first and quick look

33 rivers.”

Database evaluation -- a first and quick look

  • Experimental setup

    • 1024-mixture GMM-UBM system with 32-dim MFCCs

  • Experimental results

    • The system performs best when training and testing utterances are taken from the same session.

    • However, performance gets worse and worse with the recording date difference between training and testing gets bigger.

Figure 2. EER curves when using different sessions for model training

Outline rivers.”


Creation of Time-varying Voiceprint Database

The Discrimination-emphasized Mel-frequency-warping Method

Experimental Results

Conclusions & Future Work


How to find important frequency bands
How to find IMPORTANT frequency bands? rivers.”

The proposed solution is to highlight in feature extraction the frequency bands

that reveal high discrimination sensitivity for speaker-specific information while low discrimination sensitivity for session-specific information.

How to determine the discrimination sensitivity of each frequency band?

F-ratio serves as a criterion to produce the discrimination scores

How to perform frequency warping to highlight target frequency bands?

Frequency warping on the basis of mel-scale


Speaker recognition systems paradigms and challenges

F-ratio rivers.”[Wolf 1972]

The ratio of the between-group variance to the within-group variance.

A higher F-ratio value means better feature selection for the target grouping.

That is to say, the feature selection with a higher F-ratio possesses higher discrimination sensitivity against the target grouping.


Speaker recognition systems paradigms and challenges

F-ratio in time-varying speaker recognition tasks rivers.”

There exist two kinds of grouping: by speakers for each session and by sessions for each speaker.

The whole frequency range in divided into K frequency bands uniformly.

Linear frequency scale triangle filters are used to process the power spectrum of utterances.

Two F-ratio values are obtained for each frequency band


Speaker recognition systems paradigms and challenges

38 rivers.”












Figure 3. An illustration of two kinds of grouping

Speaker recognition systems paradigms and challenges

For each frequency band rivers.”k, a discrimination score is defined as:

Target frequency bands with higher discrimination scores should be assigned with a proper warping-factor, neither too small to emphasize them, nor too big, to increase the frequency resolution.



How to emphasize mel frequency warping mfw
How to EMPHASIZE? rivers.”Mel frequency warping (MFW)!

Warping strategies:

Uniformly warping of those target frequency bands with discrimination scores above a threshold.

Non-uniformly warping of the whole frequency range according to their discrimination scores.


Figure 4. The relationship between Hz, Mel scale, and MFW scale

Speaker recognition systems paradigms and challenges

41 rivers.”

Figure 5. A comparison of MFCC and WMFCC extraction procedures

Outline rivers.”


Creation of Time-varying Voiceprint Database

The Discrimination-emphasized Mel-frequency-warping Method

Experimental Results

Conclusions & Future Work


The discrimination for different bands
The discrimination for different bands … rivers.”

Table 3. Performance comparison of WMFCC with different warping factors in average EER

Figure 7. Discrimination scores of frequency bands

Comparison rivers.”

Table 3. Performance comparison between MFCC and WMFCC in degradation degree

Figure 7. Performance comparison between MFCC and WMFCC in EER

Outline rivers.”


Creation of Time-varying Voiceprint Database

The Discrimination-emphasized Mel-frequency-warping Method

Experimental Results

Conclusions & Future Work


Speaker recognition systems paradigms and challenges

A Discrimination-emphasized Mel-frequency-warping method is proposed for time-varying speaker recognition.

Experimental results show that in the time-varying voiceprint database, this method can not only improve speaker recognition performance in average EER with a reduction of 19.1%, but also alleviate performance degradation brought by time varying with a reduction of 8.9%. [WANG 2011, APSIPA ASC 2011 Excellent Student Paper Award]

Future work

Further experiments are needed to test the data-dependency by using other databases.

It requires more speculation and experimentation whether the discrimination-emphasized idea could be applied to other speech features, and further, speaker modeling techniques.



Thanks! proposed for time-varying speaker recognition

Update telephone banking application
Update ... proposed for time-varying speaker recognitionTelephone banking application